You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Don't Be a Financial Fool

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 1/04/2016 Ralph Nader

April is national financial literacy month and April Fools' Day is April 1st. On this occasion consumers should resolve to avoid being fooled and misled by banks, credit card companies and the financial industry. offers useful information to help you improve your financial skills and to become smarter consumers.

Being "financially literate" means more than knowing the difference between a stock and a bond―it means understanding that businesses go for their bottom line before they watch out for your pocketbook.
Unfortunately, many consumers--especially young consumers--believe the seller rather than question the seller.
One of the shadowy reasons young people aren't savvy enough about financial matters is that major financial literacy materials offered to teach young people about money are underwritten or produced by the very companies that profit when you make a money mistake. is different. It offers a steady stream of resources on topics such as car buying, home buying, student loans, and credit cards. None of this clear advice is paid for by the financial industry. offers dozens of informative videos and guest articles by national consumer leaders.
In the past year alone millions of consumers have visited the webpage. You can too. The materials on this webpage are advertising-free and agenda-free.
FoolProofMe's "Hall of Shame" feature is an example of the tough stance FoolProof takes―it names companies that have not been good for consumers.

Will deHoo, FoolProof's founder, says: "We hope 'Hall of Shame' reminds consumers that even good companies can make very bad decisions. You must always use caution, question sellers, and do research, if you're going to be a wise spender."
Here are a few notable Hall of Shame examples.

  1. Ex-Deutsche Bank Analyst Banned Over Rating at Odds With Opinion. "A former Deutsche Bank AG analyst once ranked among the best in the U.S. will pay a100,000 penalty and be banned from the securities industry for a year to settle a regulator's claims that he issued a buy recommendation at odds with his personal opinion. When research analysts tell clients to buy or sell a particular security, the rules require them to actually mean what they say,' Andrew J. Ceresney, head of the SEC's enforcement division, said in the statement. 'Analysts simply cannot express one view publicly and the opposite view privately.'"
  2. Morgan Stanley to Pay3.2 Billion Over Flawed Mortgage Bonds. "Morgan Stanley will pay3.2 billion to strike a settlement with state and federal authorities over the Wall Street firm's creation of mortgage-backed bonds before the financial crisis."
  3. CFPB Orders CarHop to Pay6.4 Million Penalty for Jeopardizing Consumers' Credit. "'Many consumers went to CarHop because they needed transportation and wanted to build up a good record of paying their bills,' said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. 'But CarHop and Universal Acceptance Corporation thwarted those expectations by inaccurately furnishing negative credit information. The CFPB will not stand for companies whose sloppy actions jeopardize consumers' credit.' 'We are pleased to have finalized these settlements involving legacy residential mortgage-backed securities matters,' a spokesman for the firm, Mark Lake, said in a statement."
  4. Citibank to Pay 700 Million in Consumer Relief for Illegal Credit Card Practices. "'Millions of consumers harmed by bank's deceptive marketing and unfair billing of credit card add-on products and services, and other unlawful practices...' Citibank was found guilty of: Misrepresenting cost and fees for coverage, misrepresenting benefits of some products, illegal practices in the enrollment process, misrepresenting or omitting information about eligibility for coverage, charging consumers for benefits they did not receive, and failure to provide product benefits."
  5. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles $105 Million Civil Penalty." Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has acknowledged violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act's requirements to repair vehicles with safety defects. Fiat Chrysler have agreed to a105 million civil penalty, the largest ever imposed by the Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA officials outlined problems with Fiat Chrysler's execution of 23-vehicle safety recalls covering more than 11 million defective vehicles. Owners of more than half a million vehicles have the opportunity to sell their vehicle back to Fiat Chrysler." is worth a visit if your money is worth a little of your time.

More from Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon